Artworks for Smart TVs

In contrast to the modest dwellings where most people live, TV screens get bigger every year and now occupy considerable space in average-sized living rooms. If you watch TV, having a huge screen may be preferable to having a smaller one. But when you switch it off, a gigantic black rectangle dominates the room.

Some people try to hide or camouflage their “black hole” inside a cabinet or other type of device. But wouldn’t it make more sense to use the TV to display photos, web pages or even artworks, when it is not being used to watch a show or a movie?

Technological innovation for the art world

With the first TV that explicitly targets art lovers (Samsung's The Frame) a major manufacturer of consumer electronics is now approaching the topic of artworks for smart TVs (What's a smart tv?).

And there are additional new players in the art market like Sedition Art, Artspace, LUMAS and Saatchi Art that are expanding the possibilities for showing art on smart TVs.

What makes these relatively new devices interesting for companies is - apart from the high picture quality – their ability to connect to the internet. This connection makes it possible to not only sell artworks via the internet but to "deliver“ digital copies of art directly to each customer’s smart TV (with the help of apps that can be installed).

New possibilities

Showing digital copies of artworks transforms smart TVs from mere entertainment machines into frames for on-going exhibitions of art. However just displaying images leaves much of the technical potentialities of this medium unused.

Wouldn’t it be great to make and see distinct art objects that utilize all technical possibilities of these devices?

Smart TVs can already show films, animations, images, sounds, texts and content from the internet on large screens, and are able to interact to a certain extent with viewers (via remote controls for example). Artworks that are made for smart TVs could take advantage of these features as well, and communicate and interact with the art spectator in new ways like Internet Art.

Internet Art enters the living room

Despite existing for about 25 years, Internet Art has not had made any major headway in the art world (as of 2018). One reason for the missing recognition may be that viewing artworks on small computer screens with low pixel resolution seemed not very attractive in comparison to first-hand viewings of visually rich paintings, drawings and photographs.

Now, with the introduction of high-resolution displays such as Retina, HD and Ultra-HD displays, and the marriage of computer and television yielding its offspring, the smart TV, Internet Art has a better chance to be seen by increasingly larger audiences.

But how?

I think the best way to create art objects for smart TVs is to create them as web pages. Web pages are able to make use of most of the technical possibilities that smart TVs have to offer: displaying films, animations, images, sounds, texts and content from the internet, as well as presenting them in ways that can interact with viewers.

Thus it seems to me logical to combine both technologies for the creation and enjoyment of art: artworks as web pages on large-screen smart TVs.

To see an early version of an art object for smart TVs, start the web browser on your smart TV and open Then you may explore Out of the Cave…

It’s the first art object that is created specifically for smart TVs.

April 2018
Last updated October 2018

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